When is the Best Time to Trim a Laurel Hedge?

Laurel hedges of all sizes can have a natural habit of growing wider with each passing year, taking up more and more valuable garden space. Be sure to cut your hedge back tight each time, to maintain a lovely dense and bushy hedge and don’t be frightened of being hard on it! Laurel hedging can be cut back quite far, as long as you avoid doing so in the winter months when frost can damage the plant if there are newly cut edges.

When is the best time of year to trim a Laurel hedge?

Trimming a laurel hedge

Laurel hedges can technically be trimmed at any time; the main advice we can offer is to try and avoid trimming Laurel in the coldest months of the year as the cut edges can be susceptible to frost damage.

The best time for trimming, in our opinion, is either in late Spring (before growth has started, so lots of healthy new branches can grow) or in mid to late Autumn before Winter starts in earnest so the cut edges have a chance to heal over before the coldest weather.

There are exceptions to this – the Bay Laurel, for instance, is known for being more tender than other Laurel hedging species, so it is always best to trim them in the Spring when the worst weather has passed.

How Many Times a Year Should I Trim a Laurel Hedge?

Usually, it is enough to trim a Laurel hedge once a year. Note, however, that there are many different kinds of Laurel species, and they all grow at different rates. The Caucasia Laurel and Common Laurel are very fast-growing types, so they may require additional trimming to maintain a dense and bushy shape – we have another knowledge page on how fast Laurel grows, so please reference that if you aren’t sure.

Reasons to Trim Laurel Hedges

Naturally, the best time to trim a Laurel hedge is when it has become overgrown; when it is crowding other plants and doesn’t look tidy anymore, you should trim it back to keep everything neat. It is extremely beneficial to the plant’s health to do this – pruning rejuvenates overgrown Laurel hedges, encouraging healthy new growth in the spring and summer seasons.

Trimming Laurel hedges as a pest and disease prevention tactic is also necessary. Removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches is always the first priority when trimming, and after that, you can focus on clearing some of the interior branches to improve air circulation in the plant. This will keep it dry and help to prevent fungal diseases. Have a look at the pests and diseases that affect Laurel hedges so you know how to prevent them.

How to Trim Laurel Hedges

While many advise trimming Laurel hedging plants with secateurs so you can avoid leaving half-cut leaves, it really isn’t necessary. You can just as easily use shears or a hedge trimmer – the cut edges will heal and cover with new growth quickly, especially if trimming is carried out in the Spring.

Here at Hopes Grove we either use a clean, sharp pair of secateurs, or sharp hedge trimmers. Hedge trimmers are of course faster! However, you may find aesthetically you prefer to use secateurs – not to avoid damage to the plant – simply to avoid the brown ‘bruising’ that can occur on leaf edges cut with a hedge cutter.

After cutting away anything dead, damaged or diseased, focus on trying to ensure that sunlight can reach the centre of the plant – if you do that, you can’t go wrong! You may also find the following guides useful How To Make Your Laurel Grow Faster and Common Pests Diseases and Problems with Laurel Hedge Plants for more information on getting the best out of your Laurel Hedging Plants